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 You are in: Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs > Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs > Releases > Biographies of Senior Officials

Fay, Michael

BIOGRAPHY

Michael Fay
Naturalist

Mike Fay has spent his life as a naturalist from the Sierra Nevadas and the Maine woods as a boy, Alaska and Central America in college, to north Africa then the depths of the African forest for the past 22 years. He is now 45 years old born in September 1956 in Plainfield, N.J. He received a Bachelor of Science in 1978 from the University of Arizona and then spent 6 years in the Peace Corps as a botanist in national parks in Tunisia and the savannas of the Central African Republic. He then went on to work with Peter Raven in 1984 at the Missouri Botanical Garden first to do a floristic study on a mountain range on Sudan’s western border but ended up doing his Ph.D. on the western lowland gorilla. It was at this time that he first entered the forests of central Africa where he still works. Doctoral work was curtailed several times (graduated 1997) while he surveyed large forest blocks and worked to create and manage the Dzanga-Sangha and Nouabale-Ndoki parks in the Central African Republic and Congo.

In 1996 Fay started flying a small airplane low over the forests of Congo and Gabon and realized that there was a vast, intact forest corridor that spanned these two countries from the Oubangui to the Atlantic Ocean. In 1997 he decided to walk the entire corridor, over 2000 miles, systematically surveying trees, wildlife and human impacts on 12 uninhabited forest blocks on a project he developed called the Megatransect. This work had the objective of bringing to the world’s attention the last pristine blocks of forest in central Africa and the need for protection. Mike has worked for the past 11 years for the Wildlife Conservation Society of the Bronx and spent two years at the National Geographic Society in Washington writing up the Megatransect and fund raising for central African forests. He is presently based in Gabon working on helping to set up a national park system.


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